Gopal Chandra Tanti
Month Year: October 2001
Wildlife Service Awards
Laboratory Assistant, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve.
His life is spent in boats and walking the muddy creeks and mangroves of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve. Tanti has been working as a Laboratory Assistant in the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve since 1979 and has contributed greatly to the conservation of this fragile mangrove ecosystem. His work includes the artificial hatching and release of endangered species such as the estuarine crocodile and marine and freshwater turtles. A hands-on wildlifer, he enjoys working with animals and carefully supervises operations from start to finish. An expert in tiger estimation, since 1984, he has also been working on tranquillising tigers and has been responsible for rescuing several cats from human habitations where they had strayed and would have been shot. Considered to be an expert now, he has been called upon to tranquillise several other species, including elephants, rhinos and deer. His excellent rapport with villagers has helped him defuse several volatile situations when humans have come into conflict with the tiger in the Sunderbans. This ability has won him the support of his staff, with whose help he has managed to rescue more than 10 tigers so far, of which seven were reintroduced back into their mangrove habitats.
Ill-health and personal problems have not been able to thwart him from his purpose and for these reasons and more, he richly deserves to be honoured and recognised by us all.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXI No. 5, October 2001.